Young Merton Together

Becoming independent

Holistic and young person centred approach to NEET prevention

My Futures Team

Merton’s My Futures Team tell Young Merton Together about their approach to supporting vulnerable young people to secure positive futures:

The My Futures team supports young people aged 14-19 in the borough who are Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET) or who are at risk of becoming NEET. We support young people holistically, aiming to understand their individual needs and circumstances in order to provide the right support to unlock their potential. The young person’s views and ideas are at the centre of our work as this will maximise their potential for engagement and the achievement of positive outcome.

The young people that we work with often have poor mental health including anxiety, school phobia, behaviour problems and severe depression, have experienced neglect, have Special Education Needs and Disabilities, are involved in offending behaviour, have low school or college attendance or have been or are excluded from school or college.

Owing to this complexity and range of need we offer young people a range of support options including one to one and group work sessions and a summer holiday programme of activities and new opportunities aimed at inspiring, educating and building connections with support workers and peers - out of the 27 young people who attended during the 2019 summer programme, only one young person did not have an Education, Training or Employment destination for September 2019.

We use a variety of tools to support each young person, including the signs of safety model to measure the risk around each case and the wider family, and genograms to explore the underlying reasons behind disengagement. This runs alongside the planning and implementation of sustained long term placements into education, training and employment.

Follow this link to find out how ‘ Sandra’ who had been NEET for six months, was supported by the team to tackle the anxiety and low mood which prevented her from engaging in further education. She has now been in college since September and has a part time job.

Our team is based in secondary schools across the borough and in the community, and includes a SEN and disabilities specialist keyworker, a Youth Offending Team specialist keyworker and a counsellor. We identify those in need of support through a tracking process and via referrals from staff and partners across the borough, including schools, who work with children and young people.

In addition we work in partnership with Merton’s Towards Employment programme which links young people with work, training and apprenticeship opportunities, and London Universities widening Participations teams, running workshops to break down the barriers for disadvantaged young people gaining access to University.

Please follow our media pages which are for young people and professionals and include information and updates regarding support around education, training and employment opportunities.

twitter@myfuturesmerton – Twitter

insta@myfuturesmerton – Instagram

facebook@My Futures Merton – Facebook

One young person’s journey into education and employment

Merton’s My Futures Team tells Young Merton Together about ‘ Sandra’ who had been NEET for six months, and was supported by the team to tackle the anxiety and low mood which prevented her from engaging in further education. She has now been in college since September and has a part time job.

Eighteen year old ‘Sandra’ was supported by one of our key workers because she had been NEET for   6 months. She described that she had ‘always struggled at school’ and her parents described her as having low mood and anxiety. She had low self-esteem and motivation, and little willingness to engage with day to day activities; attempts to improve her mood had been met with resistance. At her first session the key worker explained to Sandra that the support on offer would be tailored to her expressed needs, interests and abilities, and that sessions could be held at home. This enabled her to open up and to set a plan to meet the keyworker once a week.

At the next session Sandra discussed triggers for her low mood, and completed a genogram of key relationships and the impact of these in her life. The key worker was able to identify that Sandra’s low mood played a key role in her resistance to discuss and explore employment opportunities. They agreed to go on a ‘dog-walk’ together as Sandra had said that this activity lifts her mood.

During the walk Sandra was able to share her knowledge about the local area enabling her to experience an equal rather than hierarchal relationship with the key worker. This was a turning point for Sandra. She was able to discuss her feelings about being a young women, having money, future relationships, physical aesthetics and how these are all important aspects of an individual’s self-image and identity. At the same time the key work was able to highlight to Sandra the positive impact that education, training, skills and employment can have on her self-identity.

The following sessions saw a change in Sandra’s outlook on her own future, and she was then open to completing job and college applications. By the spring of 2019 Sandra was planning for further education and was clear that she wanted to do a course that she would enjoy. By the September Sandra had enrolled at college, and agreed to retake her maths and English GCSE’s. Sandra has now successfully completed three months of college and has a part time job.

Please follow our media pages which are for young people and professionals and include information and updates regarding support around education, training and employment opportunities.

twitter@myfuturesmerton – Twitter

insta@myfuturesmerton – Instagram

facebook@My Futures Merton – Facebook

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